This course provides a critical understanding of the roots of contemporary Ghanaian culture and African traditions. It examines the move from traditional political and socio-economic entities that were radically modified by 100 years of colonialism and the emergence of contemporary Ghana. Offering the course in Ghana also allow students to examine how contemporary culture affects attitudes towards aspects of everyday life in Ghana, including attitude towards work and leisure, Christianity, technology, politics and the Ghanaian state.
This course focuses on the complex role gender plays in the African struggle for social and economic development. Feminist/womanist critiques of development theory and institutions will be used to examine the social, political and economic aspects of development in Ghana. The course also pays attention to women as clients of, and policy makers in, the development system. Using the theoretical frameworks that have developed on the topic in the past several years, this course will focus more specifically on the role of women and gender in Ghanaian society.
A systematic study of the attitudes and mind and belief, as well as practices, which have evolved in the many societies of West Africa, whose belief systems are rooted in traditional religious heritage as a profound reflection on the human condition. The course examines the meaning, structure and sources of West African traditional religion. Text; Opoku, Kofi, A.(1978), West African Traditional Religion (Accra: FEP International Press); pobee, John. S (1991), Politics of Religion in Ghana (Accra, Asempa Publishers).
The course focuses on development of dramatic activities, music and visual arts from indigenous to the colonial Gold Coast ears, through the pre-independence “school drama” to the era of national theatre movements under President Kwame Nkrumah, to the present. It retrieves and analyzes indigenous theatre concepts such as “Anansegro” ( Spider Plays) and “Abibigro” (African Plays) for theoretical, philosophical, historical as well as literary values. Particular attention will be given to the development and roles of African music and drumming repertoires’ as art forms and their implications for national development. Students will have numerous opportunities to observe, participate and sometimes perform local plays with local artists and students on campus and in neighboring communities as part of the course.
Students will have the option of taking this 1/2 credit elective in which they will design an independent research proposal to explore a topic of interest related to the program theme. When appropriate and beneficial for all involved parties, a student’s research project could be developed in conjunction with a local organization working on the topic the student is interested in; such organizations could include the Kofi Annan International Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution, international banks, and NGOs dealing with cultural and economic development. In order to assist the students in developing a research proposal, the Program Director will assign readings and spend time discussing methods of field research, including how to gather, organize and analyze information they find.
Students may choose to study one of the three main Ghanaian languages: Twi, Ga, or Ewe. They are expected to master the basics with emphasis on oral and reading skills. This is a 1/2 credit elective.